Seek soars 20% on record H1 profit

Job ads and educational services firm expects to increase revenue further in H2, share price hits all-time high in late trade.

Seek (SEK) shares surged to an all-time high in afternoon trade following a sharp lift in first-half profit after strong underlying growth in its international and educational divisions.

At 1517 AEDT, Seek shares were 20.03% higher at $16.00, against a benchmark index lift of 0.06%, their highest point on record.

Seek listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2005, and, after a heavily oversubscribed offer, set its initial public offering for institutional and retail investors, as set by institutional bookbuild, at $2.10 per share.

For the six months to December 31, the job advertising and education group posted a record net profit after tax of $111.2 million, a 65% increase on the previous corresponding period.

Accounting for the sale of the remaining 80% stake in its THINK business in November 2013, net profit after tax came in at $87.4 million, still a 29% increase on the previous corresponding period.

Revenue from ordinary activities was 48% higher for the half at $343.3 million compared to the first half of fiscal 2013.

Seek chief executive Andrew Bassat said he expected the group's second-half net profit after tax to be marginally higher than the record half-year result posted today.

The group will pay a franked interim dividend of 14 cents on April 30 with the date of record at April 9.